king’s tomb, resting in that king’s sarcophagus, with both the cartonnage replacement coffin containing him and his outer shroud labeled with that king’s prenomen? Harris and Wente could offer no explanation for this apparently extreme misidentification of some other Thutmosid king for Amenhotep II; but they were convinced that No. 61069 was not the second Amenhotep. What did seem likely to them was that, of all possible Royal Mummies candidates, only he could have been the father (craniofacially speak- ing) of the peculiar remains labeled-but-questioned as those of Amenhotep III. But was No. 61069 really Thutmose IV? More importantly, was No. 61074 actually Amenhotep III?
Skipping ahead chronologically, Harris and Wente turned to Tutankhamen as the only one of the Royal Mummies who was found in a totally undisturbed context within his own tomb. The sole problem with the occupant of KV62 is that his paren-tage is debated. It is agreed by Egyptologists generally that he was the son of a king — based on a single textual inscription which describes him as such. But which king? Of all of the extant remains of Thutmosid males, the one nearly identical craniofacially to Tutankhamen is the unnamed individual whose (now) skeletal remains were found in problematic Tomb 55 in the Valley of the Kings, the so-called “Amarna Cache.” Al- though even the sex of this person was confused initially, it is agreed by most scholars today that the skeleton in question represents the mortal remains of ephemeral King Smenkhkare, the short-lived coregent and successor of Akhenaten — although a minor- ity view continues to hold out for an identification with Akhenaten himself. Therefore, it seemed clear to Harris and Wente, based solely on their very alike craniofacial mor- phologies, that Tutankhamen and the KV55 individual were closely related, either as brothers or as father and son (with Tutankhamen in the latter position, clearly).
So, which of the Thutmosid male mummies between Thutmose III and Smenkhkare/Tutankhamen is most like the latter craniofacially? Harris concluded that this was No. 61073, “Thutmose IV.” Historically, the fourth Thutmose would have been either the grandfather or great-grandfather of Tutankhamen, depending on which candi- date is favored as the latter’s father (the two most often touted being Amenhotep III and Akhenaten, with majority opinion in the Heretic’s camp). But what, Harris and Wente pondered, if “Thutmose IV,” No. 61073, was, in fact, Amenhotep III, and therefore ar- guably the father of both Smenkhkare and Tutankhamen (which would account for the similarities in craniofacial morphologies of all three)?
Harris and Wente were convinced that the mummy labeled “Amenhotep III,” No. 61074, was not that king. Certainly, the analysis of his craniofacial morphology proved that he was wholly unlikely to have been the father or even the grandfather of either Tutankhamen or Smenkhkare. Study of the No. 61074 remains subsequent to An X-Ray Atlas has convinced Harris (and apparently Wente) that the skull of that individ- ual — too large for the body by two standard deviations — has craniofacial features consistent with sculpted portraits of Akhenaten. Should No. 61074, in fact, be the her- etic pharaoh’s remains, it would help explain two factors regarding their condition when discovered in 1898: the terribly battered state which they are in (having suffered more violence at the hands of tomb robbers than any of the Royal Mummies except Rameses VI); and the embalmers’ insertion of resinous material under the skin of the limbs and neck to give them a more life-like appearance, a practice otherwise unknown in the New Kingdom and not seen again until the Twenty-first Dynasty. But Akhenaten was historically, and inarguably, the son of Amenhotep III; and the only one of the Thutmosid mummies which Harris and Wente saw as possibly the father of No. 61074 is the individual found in the sarcophagus of Amenhotep II, and clearly thought by the ancient necropolis priests to be that king. Thus, was “Amenhotep II” actually Amenho- tep III? If so, which of the Royal Mummies is Amenhotep II’s?
For reasons they did not make clear, Harris and Wente also offered another can- didate for No. 61074: King Ay, Tutankhamen’s immediate successor, who was not re- lated by blood to the Thutmosid line. By taking “Amenhotep III” completely out of the sequence of pre-Tutankhamen rulers, the orthodontist and Egyptologist were able to move “Thutmose IV” sequentially closer to Tutankhamen and Smenkhkare, casting No. 61073 (“Thutmose IV”) as actually Amenhotep III. But where does that leave No. 61069, the putative “Amenhotep II”?
Because their Royal Mummies musical chairs was quite clearly complicated — and in some ways internally contradictive — Harris and Wente came up with three se- parate “schemes” to reorder the identifications of the Eighteenth Dynasty kings. In all of these the mummy of the founder of the dynasty, Ahmose I, is unknown; and the mummy labeled “Amenhotep I” remains Amenhotep I. In Scheme 1, “Thutmose II” is Thutmose I; “Seti II” is Thutmose II; “Thutmose III” is Thutmose III; Amenhotep II is unknown; “Amenhotep II” is Thutmose IV; “Thutmose IV” is Amenhotep III; Akhen- aten is the KV55 individual; Smenkhkare is unknown; Tutankhamen is Tutankhamen; and “Amenhotep III” is Ay.
Scheme 2 has “Thutmose II” as Thutmose I; “Seti II” as Thutmose II; “Thut-mose III” as Thutmose III; Amenhotep II unknown; “Amenhotep II” as Thutmose IV; Akhenaten unknown; Smenkhkare as the KV55 individual; Tutankhamen as Tutankh-amen; and “Amenhotep III” as Ay.
In Harris’s and Wente’s Scheme 3, “Thutmose II” becomes Thutmose I; “Seti II” becomes Thutmose II; Thutmose III is possibly unknown; “Thutmose III” becomes possibly Amenhotep II; “Thutmose IV” remains Thutmose IV; “Amenhotep II” be- becomes Amenhotep III; “Amenhotep III” becomes Akhenaten; Smenkhkare is the in- dividual in KV55; Tutankhamen is Tutankhamen; and Ay is unknown. To help explain the problem that Tutankhamen and Smenkhkare would not seem to be the biologic sons of either the reassigned “Amenhotep II” or “Amenhotep III,” Harris and Wente pro- posed that Tutankhamen, at least, was the product of a marriage between a son of Thutmose IV and a daughter of Amenhotep III, the assertion that he was a king’s “bod- ily son” notwithstanding. This rather startling concept would go to explain Tuthankh- amen’s claim in a text that Thutmose IV was his “father’s father.” Wente pointed out that even in the Old Kingdom the title “king’s son of his body” was used to refer, oc- casionally, to a king’s grandson.
Certainly, by their implied admission, there is nothing conclusive in James Harris’s and Edward Wente’s well-meaning attempt(s) to scientifically sort out the apparent misidentifications made in the Twenty-first Dynasty of several of the Royal Mummies. Indeed, some of their suggested reassignments of identity seem implausible, especially their wish to see both Nos. 61071 (“Amenhotep II”) and 61073 (“Thutmose IV”) as possibly Amenhotep III, when neither set of remains bears any resemblance to the third Amenhotep as represented in the scores of representations of him which have survived from antiquity. Elliot Smith described “Thutmose IV” as an extremely emac- iated individual at the time of his death, whereas several extant art works strongly sug- gest that the historical Amenhotep III was somewhat corpulent in his last years. Addi- tionally, there is in the Luxor Museum a small limestone ostracon with raised-relief sketch portraits of two kings, one to a side. Albeit uninscribed, these are generally thought to represent a young Amenhotep III (at the time of his accession?) and Thut- mose IV at the end of his reign. The latter image is of a rather gaunt individual and bears an uncanny resemblance to the “Thutmose IV” mummy in profile, suggesting that the plump-cheeked fourth Thutmose (as he was represented in the famous pair-statue with his mother from the outset of his reign) may have suffered some sort of wasting debilitation towards the end of his life, caused by a disease that ultimately killed him.
While it is very likely that the necropolis priests who rescued and rewrapped the New Kingdom royalty (and others) mistook one individual for another — as the latter were shuffled from hiding place to hiding place — it seems almost incredible that the desecrated mummy of Amenhotep II was removed from his tomb to be rewrapped (in a workshop at the Medinet Habu Mortuary Temple of Rameses III?) and, in the process, another king’s mummy was inadvertently mistaken as his, mislabeled on shroud and replacement coffin, and returned to KV35 and Amenhotep II’s sarcophagus. While they are but minor works of art, the sculpted faces of two figures depicting Amenhotep II found in the funerary refuse of KV35 (a bitumenized wood-wooden ka figure [CG 24598] and a calcite group-statue of the king being lustrated by two deities [CG 24157] both bear a rather strong resemblance to the mummy “Amenhotep II,” in profile and full face. Something so simple as the apparent correspondences of “portraits” of Thut- mose IV and Amenhotep II to the mummies thought (by the ancient necropolis priests) to be theirs should give pause to any rush to judgment about the latter’s identities as suggested by apparent discrepancies in their craniofacial morphologies.
How did it happen that the seeming misidentifications occurred in the first place? When the rulers of the Twenty-first Dynasty made the decision to dismantle the plundered interments in the Great Place (Valley of the Kings), the accomplishment of this did not happen overnight, but evidently over several years. When the royal tombs were entered by those assigned to recover the human remains therein and to collect whatever was salvageable or recyclable (bullion-wise) from the vandalized funerary furnishings that remained, they were confronted by much the same scenes as Victor Loret found in KV35 when he first entered it in 1898: total chaos. Certainly the mummified royal occupant(s) in each tomb had been rapaciously denuded of their trappings and often were found with a limb or two detached, the body cavity broken open, even the head severed in some instances. Anything that might have borne the name(s) of the tomb owner had been stripped from the body and carried off, leaving the mummy(ies) in question essentially anonymous, save for the context of the sepulcher itself.
It appears that the probably never-used tomb of Rameses XI (the latter having been interred in the Delta in all likelihood) served as a makeshift workshop wherein paper-thin gilding was stripped with some effort from furniture parts and coffin fragments, etc. The recovered human remains were carried up out of the Valley of the Kings and across the flood plain to the Mortuary Temple of Rameses III, where necropolis priests set about reassembling (as necessary) each body, rewrapping it — often without great care, frequently incorporating some of the original bandaging — and inscribing in inked hieratics on the outer shroud the nomen and/or prenomen of the presumed ruler before them. The reconstituted mummy bundle was then placed in a coffin at hand (these for the most part salvaged from various plundered burials, not necessarily royal and — with a couple of exceptions — not original to the individual being enclosed within). The replacement coffin then was itself inscribed in ink with its new occupant’s name(s), and very probably put in storage at the temple, its reinterment to be dealt with at some later time — when it was moved, eventually, to either the family cache of Priest-King Pinudjem I or to the Tomb of Amenhotep II (or some other yet-to-be-found place) where, hopefully, it would be safe for all time to come.
Further resolution of the actual identities of the several disputed Royal Mummies awaits two future developments: (1) refinement of DNA testing, whereby accurate results can be gotten from mummified tissues (samples of same for the Royal Mummies being presently in sterile storage in Cairo); and (2) discovery of the Third Royal Mummies Cache, which likely will be found to house many — if not all — of the still-missing New Kingdom rulers: Ahmose I (?), Hatshepsut, Amenhotep III (?), Akhenaten (?), Horemheb, Ay, Rameses I, Seti II, Tausret (?), Setnakht, Rameses VII-VIII-X-(?)XI and Herihor; plus any number of royal wives, princes and princesses of the period, including Neferure, Mutemwiya, Nefertiti, Meritaten, Ankhesenamen, Nefertari, Isetnofert, etc.; and unaccounted for Pinudjem family members, particularly the high-priests Piankh, Menkheperre and Nesbanebdjed (Smendes) II.